Julian Files chapter 5

 

I’m gonna be honest, you guys. This chapter is particularly slice-of-life. I don’t know if that means it’s super boring. I feel like it is.

But it’s also dorky and possibly humorous, and has lots of baby Boyd possibly being cute? I have no concept of this stuff. Maybe it’s just dumb, or maybe all this makes it okay. I have no idea!

I feel like this chapter is kind of fluffy and I’m super unaccustomed to writing (and not deleting) fluff. If this sucks then I apologize for the boring inconvenience 😦

Oh right, if you want to see my artistic interpretation of what Cedrick drew, I put it in my first newsletter. When you get to the end of the chapter, or that scene, feel free to scroll down at the link and finally understand all that confusion 😉

 



 

Tuesday June 28, 2005
Cedar Hills neighborhood
Lexington, PA

“Goooood morning, sunshine!”

Boyd shot up in bed, his blond hair a mass of tangles and fluff. His golden eyes were wide, turning to the door even as his little Batman pajama shirt fell partially off his shoulder. Cedrick grinned and took great hopping strides into the room, all the way to the bed.

“How’s my favorite son today? Did you sleep well?”

Boyd rubbed at his eyes and frowned. “What are you doing, daddy?”

Cedrick threw himself onto the bed, looping his arms around Boyd and dragging him down with him. He hugged him close, rolling back and forth while Boyd let out a startled huff.

“Guess what I did already today, Boyd? Can you guess?”

“No.”

“You didn’t even try!”

Boyd giggled as Cedrick shifted to ruffling his hair. “I don’t know!”

“Well, if you aren’t even going to guess I’ll just tell you. I called in sick for you and me.”

Boyd twisted around to look at Cedrick, amber eyes large and confused. “Why? I’m not sick. Are you?”

Cedrick had already run through his mind how he would handle this today, so he smiled and said, “No, but you do well in school and that should be rewarded. I’m instating a new system, where if you do super well, we’ll get to play hooky sometimes and go around together doing all the fun things we want. Besides,” he added, “this is just the summer academy right now. They won’t mind if you take one day off.”

Boyd frowned but it was more thoughtful than anything. “Then what are we doing today?”

“You’ll see!” Cedrick sat up and pulled Boyd along with him, absently smoothing down his hair. “Okay, get ready, buddy. I can help you with your hair. Do you want help with your clothes?”

“No.” Boyd scrunched up his face.

He had liked choosing his own clothes for a while now, preferring not to be treated like a little kid. Cedrick thought it was adorable, but didn’t say anything because Boyd Would Not Appreciate That.

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What’s been happening

I posted a number of things this weekend because I was weirdly productive, but you may have missed some of it since most of it was released on tumblr late at night. I recently updated my site with a number of links if you lose this page.

New mailing list/newsletter

I now have my own mailing list/newsletter to send information about things going on in my creative world. I just released the first edition yesterday, and I only just let people knwo about how to subscribe the day before. So it’s brand new.

SUBSCRIBE:  http://eepurl.com/cjdren
FIRST ARCHIVED ISSUE: http://eepurl.com/cjio09

YouTube video on Scrivener

I made a video and posted it on YouTube about how I use Scrivener, in case it’s of use. Find it here: https://youtu.be/EFl0xkyUUA0

+  +  +

I feel like there was something else but right now I’m blanking on it so I’ll leave it at that.

The beginning of the end (but not in an ominous way)

I am currently 227,500 words into Incarnations, the first book in a series I am working on (the second book of which I had already partially written before I realized it would be part of this series). For a while, what really slowed me down with writing Incarnations was that I knew how the book would end, I knew everything that happened thousands and hundreds and singular years before the book started, but what happened in the book itself and specifically how it should lead to the ending of the book was something I was determining as I wrote. Because the plot is pretty complicated or at least layered.

Then, finally, I had a breakthrough and figured out how to plot out the steps from the chapter I was on, right through to the end of the book.

“This is amazing!” I thought at that time. “This is what stalled me before! Surely it will be much faster writing the rest of the book now!”

And yet, I find myself stalling again.

First, I stalled in figuring out how to write the chapter I had to write before it started the plotted parts. But I got through that chapter on Friday. So this past weekend I should, theoretically, have been gung ho about running forward into what I had plotted next.

Except I wasn’t.

Except, every night I am faced with the possibility of writing and I pause for lack of inspiration, even knowing what I should write. I had thought that lack of inspiration was a lack of plotting, but it wasn’t.

I realized that it’s actually because this next chapter will start the last arc of the book, and that’s… intimidating. A little scary. A bit worrisome.

I’ve always been the sort of person who gets a bit intimidated when I realized I can finish something. This will be explained better if I ever share some of the stories I have with my struggles with anorexia over the years. But it also comes up in a lot of parts of my life.

Thing is, I’d written stories, even really long stories, before–but a lot of times I didn’t finish them, or I did finish them but then I started a sequel I never wrote or finished. ICoS was the first time I wrote a really long story with a potentially solid ending, and even then I co-wrote it. I had someone else with me the whole way.

Incarnations is pretty meaningful to me for my life. Why? Because this and other reasons.

What’s interesting is I’m not worried about if other people will like it, because I know everyone has different opinions and that’s cool. I’m not worried that I will do a terrible job and it won’t live up to my standards, because I was able to release a lot of that hold for perfection over my writing over the years and now I can look at it as having fun and this just being one of many steps on a learning curve going forward. I’m not worried about a lot of things, and yet I stall.

I think it’s for two reasons:

  1. Once I start this last arc, there will be no going back. I’ll be ending this story, like an end of an era for me, even though it will also open up an entire series. It will be a weird sense of closure and intrigue for the future. But it also is a change.
  2. I really want to go strong into this last arc; make sure I write it well. I can tell the difference between when I’m into writing something and when I don’t feel like writing and I’m forcing myself. I get a lot more poetic when I’m inspired; I get really redundant when I’m not. And the thing is, I’ve been looking forward to writing a number of those chapters for months or years, so I do have expectations but mostly the expectations are I hope I can enjoy it and write it well.

But you know, I’m still going to write it. I may hit pause for a few days, let myself kind of refocus and rewind, but I’m going to finish it because I’m looking forward to it, even though I stalled before doing so.

I’m encouraging myself with, I suppose appropriately enough, a quote from narration I wrote for Boyd in Fade; a quote I put up on my wall to remind myself to keep going.

But that was the way it went any time a person was on the precipice of change. The fear of the future mixed with the loss of the past. At those times, all a person could do was step forward.

I don’t think I did a good job explaining my thought process in this, but at the same time, right now I don’t know how else to explain it. Or rather, to explain it in more detail would mean going on a number of tangents that would lead to even more tangents, and it could turn into the neverending story.

I guess what was most interesting to me is that I don’t stall because I’m afraid of failure–instead, I tend to sabotage myself because I’m afraid of success.

Tell us about your book(s) – belated QRM bonus

In October 2015 I contributed to Queer Romance Month with my post, The Equality of Differences, talking about how I’ve always felt like an alien on Earth because so much of who I am naturally is not “normal” for most people. At that time, QRM offered an option for “mini-interviews” that participating writers like me could do– they gave us 10 questions, told us to choose a few and answer them, then get them to QRM and they would share them on other blogs.

I ended up choosing some questions and answering them, but then not participating in actually sharing them. I had planned to post the Q&As on my blog but then I don’t think I ever did. I remembered it just now because of one of the questions and answers I did, and how it could pertain to a recent request for help from a friend.

I’m splitting this into different posts because they’re totally different topics.


 

Tell us about your book(s)

If anyone knows my name at all even vaguely, they probably know me because I’m half the writing duo behind the m/m series called In the Company of Shadows (first book is called Evenfall). You can find more information about it here, if you want: http://aisylum.com/project/icos/. It’s a long ass series, and you can download the whole thing for free.

But since ICoS has been around for years and I don’t want to spoil anyone on anything in it, what I’d rather talk about are stories I’m working on now, specifically a fantasy book I’m writing that I first started when I was around 13. I wrote 150 pages in it, decided it was crap, started over, didn’t like the direction I was going, and then shelved it. Over the years, I brought it out and worked on it for a bit, then set it aside for years, then started the cycle over.

By now, it’s much more complicated than it was in the original version. And there are some pretty funny things that happened along the way. For example, the girl who was the main character of the original version, who was basically the typical hero, is now a side character who is technically a bad guy. But her plot hasn’t changed at all; it’s simply all in the context used to tell her story.

For me, the world is filled with shades of grey. I think people use that term to sometimes imply some sort of lawless, faithless land; like the Wild West of morality. But to me, all the greatest beauties in the world are in that space where everything blends together and there is no hard and fast rule for what is good or bad. I don’t really believe in the idea of true good and true evil; I believe in the concept that people are people, and they do what seems right to them based on their life experiences and their motivations, and from one angle a person can be a saint and from another a devil. Because life is all about the POV you’re using to interpret reality.

That’s something that will come up, to an extent, in the book– simply in the process of telling the stories of the characters and the plot. As for how this is relevant to queer romance, when thinking of stories I go with what naturally happens when creating the characters and considering how they would react to different things or how they might naturally progress as a person. This includes helping me realize what their sexuality is. In the case of this book and the characters who populate it, it just so happens that there will be people who are straight, gay, lesbian, pansexual, possibly asexual, and one of the main characters is agender or trans. I’m looking forward to a lot of their stories and hope, when I finish the book and release it, others will like what they see. Until then, I don’t want to say too much.

If you’re interested in this book, I will definitely post more as I get closer to finishing. I’ve set myself the goal that I should finish the book by my next birthday, so it should hopefully be done by Spring 2016. I will post about it in various places online, so check out how to contact or follow me here: http://aisylum.com/about/contact/ 

Another Incarnations excerpt – Fawkes and Sloane, being goofs

I just released this on tumblr today as well, because I got all inspired by this:

fantasique reblogged your post and added: “fantasy story excerpt (f/f-ish)”

!!!! this seems so good *//* and is it healthy i’m already shipping sloane x fawkes like crazy? bc they sound all the right bells of my fangirlself tbh *runs* and the cover is so pretty too! can’t wait for april ❤

I wrote the below response on tumblr:

Aww! it actually would make me really happy if you do ship them! I like them 🙂 They already sort of have a joking ship name based on their first names, but it’s not really set in stone. They’re basically inseparable and get along super well and sometimes mess with others. I like them both so it would make me happy if anyone else liked them 🙂

You’re getting me excited about the story again! I tried to find another excerpt to share with them and it was a little difficult because so many of their scenes are too contextual or in spoiler country, but I did remember this scene so I’m sharing it! I changed a couple of names in it to Earthling/American equivalents so the specific terms I use aren’t taken.

Anyway in this scene they are joking around.

EXCERPT BELOW

Context on this scene: So, Fawkes and Sloane are both early 20s when the book starts. There’s this character Vikenti who’s late 40′s and really cranky and sort of a father figure to Sloane but also they’re kind of gruff with each other sometimes. Vikenti and Sloane are basically the cops in this fantasy world, and Fawkes is a friend. In this scene, they’re walking through the equivalent of the police headquarters in the main city. Sloane and Fawkes aren’t supposed to have anything to do with the murder mystery case but Sloane bitched at Vikenti until he grudgingly agreed to let them see the body.

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Winter Prayers – another old original story

Winter Prayers

By Ais

        When Jessica was seven, her father walked out of the house and never returned.

        She stood by the door, her hands pressed against the cold glass, her breath fogging her view of that large world beyond. She was certain that if she waited long enough, if she looked hard enough, if she was a good enough little girl… He would be there. She longed to see his tattered brown briefcase, his work-worn smile. She wanted to see him wave again, like he used to, with just the slightest of twitches in his upraised hand and a sparkle in his eyes she could see even across the lawn.

        She wanted to hear him laugh.

        She wanted to see him smile so kindly at her when she asked him why the world existed as it did. She wanted to see him again, hug him again, cry on his shoulder again…

        But no matter how long she waited, no matter how many years passed, her father never returned.

        She watched for him still, her faith as strong as a disbeliever turned religious. She knew that she just wasn’t looking hard enough. Her father was down that street, inside that café, across that stadium… Everywhere she was, her father was. He was waiting for her to find him.

        He was waiting, for her.

*        *        *        *

        “Jess…” his voice struggled to free itself from his throat but came out as a groan. “Jess…” The second time was barely better.

        She stood by the window, staring out at the postcard lawn with its twinkling snow and feathers of bunny prints. The wind was soft, but still it found the strength to howl quietly against their house. She could feel the impact of the air against the windowpane, struggling to claw its way inside and turn her body as cold as her heart felt right at that moment.

        No one.

        No one was down the street, and no one had been for three hours.

        No one.

        “Jess…”

        She needed him. Why wasn’t he there? She loved her father and he left. She wanted him back. It wasn’t fair… It wasn’t fair…

        “Jess, just… give it up…” Rowan groaned into his pillow.

        For six years he had been with Jessica. Every morning on the anniversary of her father’s disappearance, she waited five hours instead of the normal two, and she looked four times as hard when she went into the city.

        He had tried to tell her he wasn’t coming back.

        Everyone had.

        But Jessica refused to listen. She told them she was her daddy’s girl. She told them he loved her. She told them they could never understand what it was like every night…

        “He always rocked me to sleep and read me stories. He kissed me goodnight when I got afraid during the night…” Her broken whisper was barely louder than the muted wind from outside, but the way her voice cracked and trembled under the power of her words betrayed her intense need. The litany fell from her lips like it did every year, and like always she waited for her prayer to be answered.

        Every year she stood there.

        Every year…

        Religiously.

        Rowan shifted on the bed, his body so comfortingly encased in cozy blankets and fluffy pillows that he didn’t want to leave. Already he could feel the chill of the air against his bare arms, the way the cold from outside seeped through their shoddy window and pressed frost-laden kisses against his exposed skin. His face always felt the coldest in the morning, especially around his right eye.

        But that was the way it had been for years, ever since that accident…

*        *        *        *

        It was during the same year that Jessica’s father left her when nine-year-old Rowan was walking through city alone. No one remembered why no one was there with him, just that he was alone with nobody to hold his hand and lead him through the streets. The sky was dark, Rowan says, but many claim it was the middle of the day. Rowan says it was raining and he was cold, so cold, but others think it was so sunny that they recall being burned. Rowan says he was on 12th street but others protest it was 11th.

        The story changed each year, individual by individual, detail by detail, until the tale of Rowan’s accident became nothing more than a gossiped half-truth of a time long ago and a boy now long dead.

        Rowan refused to acknowledge the others with his story, for he was certain he was right. Much like how Jessica insisted her father would return seventeen years later, Rowan knew he was right and everyone else was mistaken.

        So it was on 12th Street at night in the cold, hard rain when nine-year-old Rowan was walking down the street alone. He was humming a tune he liked very much. He was forgetting the words and inserting his own. He was singing off-key and listening to his echoing footsteps and the voices reaching back to him from alleyways as he passed.

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Julian Files, excerpt 10: Cedrick, Julian, and the search for the house

The street was lined with tall, skinny buildings pressed up against one another; old houses and commercial buildings converted into apartments and offices. Windows were broken out of lower levels, with old, faded signs tipped at angles against the blinds. Julian shrugged the collar of his jacket up against the pale touch of the wind. He skimmed the addresses as he passed, listening with relief he didn’t want to acknowledge to Cedrick’s every counter step against the rhythm of Julian’s own gait.

Graffiti covered every available surface, with the gangs crossing out each other’s messages and leaving one of their own. Bullet holes punched through windows and walls, with glass crunching underneath their shoes. The occasional splatter of blood and collection of pictures and mementos marked the places where someone had lost their life.

Julian only hoped he wouldn’t have to build a shrine for his brother in this godforsaken place too. Constriction grew in his stomach first, and moved python-slow up his esophagus. Tightening his throat until it was air, only air, that could release, and even that grew stale and dim and unattainable.

Cedrick bumped lightly against his side and Julian looked over. Saw his friend with his hands buried in his pockets, shoulders hunched against the weathered wind, with a Mona Lisa smile on his lips.

Julian breathed.

The city seemed endless; stretched taut to the sky with valleys and plains in an unknowable pattern. Lights were here and gone in fits and bursts; throwing this alley into relief and that street into shadows too dark for the day. Now and then he caught a hint of music or voices carried along the wind. Laughter and tunes he couldn’t place and the occasional screech of tires, and it was home of a sort, and it was life of a sort, and it should have been comforting to have that urban backdrop even here but it wasn’t.

It wasn’t, because Jeremiah was somewhere in these streets, buried deep somewhere beneath a home, and he could only hope it wasn’t literal by the time he arrived.

“There.”

Julian slowed his stride at Cedrick’s voice, and followed the line of his finger pointing in the distance. The railroad tracks were a dark crosshatched pattern staining the ground, winding here and there in controlled chaos. Several trains were vacant; dormant maybe since the war, or maybe only since the morning. Julian didn’t know at a glance. Julian didn’t care.

“It has to be around here.”

Julian didn’t know where Cedrick got his certainty, but he wanted to believe in the belief Cedrick had. He wanted to believe that life really was as simple as finding a way to smile after loss, and trust blindly in the dark.

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